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Working as a Forklift Truck Operator

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a forklift truck operator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $15.13 an hour? That's $31,468 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 4% and produce 32,600 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Forklift Truck Operator Do

There are certain skills that many forklift truck operators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed mechanical skills, visual ability and communication skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a forklift truck operator, we found that a lot of resumes listed 8.7% of forklift truck operators included clamp, while 8.5% of resumes included assembly line, and 8.5% of resumes included unload trucks. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the forklift truck operator job title. But what industry to start with? Most forklift truck operators actually find jobs in the manufacturing and retail industries.

How To Become a Forklift Truck Operator

If you're interested in becoming a forklift truck operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 6.8% of forklift truck operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 0.2% of forklift truck operators have master's degrees. Even though some forklift truck operators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a forklift truck operator. When we researched the most common majors for a forklift truck operator, we found that they most commonly earn high school diploma degrees or diploma degrees. Other degrees that we often see on forklift truck operator resumes include associate degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a forklift truck operator. In fact, many forklift truck operator jobs require experience in a role such as forklift operator. Meanwhile, many forklift truck operators also have previous career experience in roles such as machine operator or material handler.

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Average Salary$31,468
Job Growth Rate4%

Forklift Truck Operator Jobs

Forklift Truck Operator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Forklift Truck Operator

Top Careers After Forklift Truck Operator

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Forklift Truck Operator

Forklift Truck Operators in America make an average salary of $31,468 per year or $15 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $35,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $27,000 per year.
Average Salary
$31,468

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Portland, OR
Salary Range30k - 38k$34k$34,060
Reno, NV
Salary Range28k - 36k$32k$32,130
Kansas City, MO
Salary Range27k - 34k$31k$30,793
Phoenix, AZ
Salary Range26k - 34k$30k$30,286
Grand Rapids, MI
Salary Range27k - 33k$30k$30,239
Smyrna, TN
Salary Range26k - 33k$29k$29,431
$23k
$38k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Forklift and Box Truck Operator
Forklift and Box Truck Operator
Goodwill Indy
Goodwill Indy
11/20/2020
11/20/2020
$27,13111/20/2020
$27,131
Forklift/Clamp Truck Operator
Forklift/Clamp Truck Operator
Ryder System
Ryder System
10/12/2020
10/12/2020
$36,31410/12/2020
$36,314
Forklift Operator-Reach Truck and SIT Down EXP. Required.
Forklift Operator-Reach Truck and SIT Down EXP. Required.
Spherion
Spherion
08/18/2020
08/18/2020
$29,21808/18/2020
$29,218
Forklift Operator-Reach Truck, Cherry Picker, Electronic Pallet Jack
Forklift Operator-Reach Truck, Cherry Picker, Electronic Pallet Jack
Kelly Services
Kelly Services
07/17/2020
07/17/2020
$30,05307/17/2020
$30,053
Clamp-Truck/Forklift Operator
Clamp-Truck/Forklift Operator
Aerotek
Aerotek
06/26/2020
06/26/2020
$35,47906/26/2020
$35,479
See More Recent Salaries

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Forklift Truck Operator Demographics

Gender

male

85.1 %

female

9.2 %

unknown

5.7 %

Ethnicity

White

61.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

17.2 %

Black or African American

15.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

81.8 %

Arabic

9.1 %

Tagalog

9.1 %
See More Demographics

Forklift Truck Operator Education

Majors

Business
19.4 %

Degrees

High School Diploma

61.8 %

Diploma

13.3 %

Associate

11.2 %

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Forklift Truck Operator

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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Forklift Truck Operator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 8.7% of forklift truck operators listed clamp on their resume, but soft skills such as mechanical skills and visual ability are important as well.

Best States For a Forklift Truck Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a forklift truck operator. The best states for people in this position are North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and New York. Forklift truck operators make the most in North Dakota with an average salary of $39,799. Whereas in Iowa and Minnesota, they would average $36,404 and $35,996, respectively. While forklift truck operators would only make an average of $35,612 in New York, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Iowa

Total Forklift Truck Operator Jobs:
326
Highest 10% Earn:
$44,000
Location Quotient:
1.43
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Wyoming

Total Forklift Truck Operator Jobs:
42
Highest 10% Earn:
$43,000
Location Quotient:
1.35
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. North Dakota

Total Forklift Truck Operator Jobs:
51
Highest 10% Earn:
$47,000
Location Quotient:
0.98
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Forklift Truck Operator Employers

1. Walmart
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$35,108
Forklift Truck Operators Hired: 
16+
2. The Coca-Cola Company
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$43,180
Forklift Truck Operators Hired: 
15+
3. Randstad USA
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$33,677
Forklift Truck Operators Hired: 
14+
4. The Home Depot
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$32,777
Forklift Truck Operators Hired: 
10+
5. Kelly Services
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$31,147
Forklift Truck Operators Hired: 
8+
6. Aerotek
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$33,409
Forklift Truck Operators Hired: 
8+

Recently Added Forklift Truck Operator Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020